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Daihatsu Copen reborn with configurable bodywork [w/video]

06/20/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Convertibles, Japan, Videos, Daihatsu

2015 Daihatsu Copen

It was a little bittersweet when the original Daihatsu Copen ended production in 2012. Granted, we never got the tiny roadster in the US, but knowing that it was out there somewhere just made the automotive landscape a little better. It didn't take the Japanese automaker long to see the error of its ways, because concepts for a new version, now called Kopen, showed up at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show. Finally, the all-new generation of the only Diahatsu you've ever wanted (okay, okay - some of us really still want a Rocky) has been unveiled in Japan.

The new Copen (dropping the K from the concept) ditches the original's Audi TT-inspired curves in favor of being a touch more angular and aggressive. The front and rear lights both dip way down towards the road to make the little convertible look like it has overgrown tusks. Its real party piece, though, is a two-piece folding hardtop that looks pretty slick on a car this size.

The front-wheel-drive Copen adheres to Japan's kei class regulations, which means stated power is somewhat modest. It uses a 660cc turbocharged three-cylinder engine making 63 horsepower and 68 pound-feet of torque with the choice of either a five-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission with seven 'speeds.' However, the roadster's oddest feature is its chassis. It uses a monocoque that Daihatsu 'D-Frame,' an architecture that allows most of the car's body panels to bolt up to it. It should make any damage easy to repair, though, and it ought to make it easy to customize as well.

Prices in Japan start at 1,798,200 yen ($17,613) for the basic CVT model or 1,819,800 yen ($17,825) for the five-speed. Scroll down to watch a video of the live unveiling, and if you want to learn more Diahatsu, has a dedicated page for the new Copen.

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Tokyo: Daihatsu FC?DECK Concept is a cab-over cutie

11/21/2013   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Concept Cars, Tokyo Motor Show, Design/Style, Daihatsu

Daihatsu FC Deck Concept

When we first saw the Daihatsu FC?DECK (also called the FC Deco Deck), we couldn't get over its funny name, but this cab-over kei car could signal a whole new level of efficiency wrapped in a very small package. Unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show, the Daihatsu FC Deco Deck is powered by a liquid fuel cell and a compact generator, and the Japanese automaker suggests that this technology might someday be used in low-cost vehicles.

Looking like the back of a Nissan Cube mounted atop a piece of luggage, Daihatsu says that the platform used for the FC Deco Deck allows greater freedom for the design of fuel-cell vehicles. In addition to the FC Deco Deck, Daihatsu is also showing off two generators (the FC-Dock 20C and FC-Dock 5C) for use of this technology outside of the automotive world. More information on Daihatsu's Tokyo display is posted below.

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Tokyo: Daihatsu explores the future of play with two Kopen concepts

11/21/2013   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Convertibles, Japan, Tokyo Motor Show, Daihatsu

Daihatsu Kopen Concept

Daihatsu Kopen Xmz ConceptDaihatsu came to this year's Tokyo Motor Show with a clear (and very Japanese) statement of purpose for its show cars: "PLAY Tomorrow! Exploring the further possibilities of mini vehicles." Based on what we've seen so far, the playful aspect of the concept cars on the Daihatsu show stand is front and center.

Perhaps most playful of all are a pair of Kopen concepts that would seem to foreshadow an upcoming replacement for the Daihatsu Copen kei car. The Kopen is a very stylish looking little convertible, angular in a way that arguably makes its small form even cuter than before. The big party trick for both the new concepts is that they have swappable body panels for the last word in personalization, sort of like the original Smart car concept. You can see the panels being removed in the gallery above.

The first version of the concept, Kopen Rmz, is seen above in blue. Rmz would be aimed at car buyers that are looking for a more refined and stylish mini-convertible, and the concept boasts a high-quality interior "using only the best materials."

The second take on Daihatsu's espoused "New Fun+ open-top sports car with new feel" formula, is the green Kopen Xmz (meant to be pronounced "cross-m-z"). This slightly butched-up Kopen has sections of black body cladding to add a bit of aggression, as well as stripped-down interior.

Scroll down to find Daihatsu's brief press release, and be sure to take some time with both of our Kopen Concept galleries.

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Official: Daihatsu D-R concept looks like a Copen successor

09/26/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Concept Cars, Convertibles, Misc. Auto Shows, Design/Style, Daihatsu

Daihatsu D-R concept - front three-quarter view, studio image

Daihatsu, everyone's seventh-favorite Japanese automaker, is making big waves at the Indonesian Motor Show this year. Typically writing a sentence like that one would preclude such news to follow from, well, being newsworthy here in the U.S., but we've always been such fans of Daihatsu's cheeky Copen convertible Kei car that we couldn't resist reporting on the model's spiritual successor.

Called D-R, this sprightly concept droptop is obviously heavily reminiscent of the Copen, though more modern, with an oversized front fascia, Audi-style aluminum windshield frame and a leather-lavished interior that has a zero-percent chance of making it to production. It's also 100-percent more endearing than the similarly sized D-X Concept that was shown at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show.

We're told that the D-R showcar has replaceable resin body panels - fit to be switched out when the conceptual owner requires a freshened visage. Inside, a central touchscreen does most of the heavy lifting in terms of driver controls, while an LCD screen has taken the place of a traditional instrument binnacle.

The fully functional D-R concept is powered by a 600cc turbocharged two-cylinder engine. Get all of the Daihatsu details from the company's official press release.

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Official: Toyota launches new Pixis Epoch kei car in Japan

05/13/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Economy, Japan, Hatchbacks, Toyota, Daihatsu

Toyota Pixis Epoch

Kei cars may be small in size, but they're big business in Japan. The latest arrival to the category is the little hatch you see above, the Toyota Pixis Epoch.

It's the fourth vehicle produced by the Daihatsu division but sold under the Toyota brand. As with other keis, power comes from a 660cc engine. It's mated to a continuously variable transmission driving either just the front wheels or all four. In both configurations, the Pixis Epoch features a stop-start system that helps its emissions and fuel efficiency figures come in well below even the Japanese government's stringent standards.

The whole package measures just 3,395 mm (133 inches) long, 1,475 mm (58 inches) wide and 1,500 mm (59 inches) tall, but offers a relatively spacious and utile interior, plus a tight turning radius of just 4.4 meters. Pricing ranges from 795,000 to 1.2 million yen - that's less than $10,000 (and no more than $15k). Further details in the press release after the jump.

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Official: Toyota launches new Pixis Epoch mini-vehicle in Japan

05/13/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Economy, Japan, Hatchbacks, Toyota, Daihatsu

Toyota Pixis Epoch

Kei cars may be small in size, but they're big business in Japan. The latest arrival to the category is the little hatch you see above, the Toyota Pixis Epoch.

It's the fourth vehicle produced by the Daihatsu division but sold under the Toyota brand. As with other keis, power comes from a 660cc engine. It's mated to a continuously variable transmission driving either just the front wheels or all four. In both configurations, the Pixis Epoch features a stop-start system that helps its emissions and fuel efficiency figures come in well below even the Japanese government's stringent standards.

The whole package measures just 3,395 mm (133 inches) long, 1,475 mm (58 inches) wide and 1,500 mm (59 inches) tall, but offers a relatively spacious and utile interior, plus a tight turning radius of just 4.4 meters. Pricing ranges from 795,000 to 1.2 million yen - that's less than $10,000 (and no more than $15k). Further details in the press release after the jump.

Continue reading Toyota launches new Pixis Epoch mini-vehicle in Japan

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Report: Daihatsu Copen, Japan's last kei convertible, ending production

04/06/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Convertibles, Economy, Japan, Daihatsu

Daihatsu Copen

You may not have ever heard of a car called the Daihatsu Copen, but it's ending production and we're sad to report it. The Copen is (or was) made by the budget Toyota brand and stands as the only convertible kei car - those being the whimsical little cars that zip around Japan - still on the market.

A tiny two-seat roadster with a 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the Copen was a favorite among customers for being just downright fun. But apparently after ten years of production, there just aren't enough of those customers left to justify its continued production.

As a result, Daihatsu is reportedly discontinuing the line, with no apparent plans to replace it. Before it does, however, a 10th anniversary edition is reportedly in the works, with production limited to just 500 units. But with only 2,000 Copens sold last year, that represents a full quarter of production.

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Tokyo: Daihatsu FC Case Concept is autonomous, high-tech transportation

12/02/2011   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Concept Cars, Wagons/Estates, Tokyo Motor Show, Crossovers/CUVs, Electric, Daihatsu

Daihatsu FC Case Concept

The one thing that's been missing from this year's Tokyo Motor Show are the inevitable rolling living room concepts of years past. But Daihatsu has come to the rescue with its FC Case concept.

The rolling bread box might not look like much from the outside, but inside it's packed with folding seats and a host of infotainment gadgets. Just as important is the FC's method of propulsion, a variant of hydrogen called hydrazine hydrate or N2H4 H2O (yes, we had to look it up) that's synthesized from nitrogen and hydrogen. Daihatsu says the fuel has a higher energy density and lower flammability, but more intriguing is the delivery. Hydrazine hydrate can supposedly be transported and inserted into the vehicle much like gasoline, which takes care of that pesky infrastructure situation. Couple that with some kind of autonomous driving system and it's not hard to imagine a fleet of FCs running down the highway at speed, bumper-to-bumper, cleanly and quickly delivering employees to work in 2035... or something.

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Tokyo: Daihatsu D-X portends a less endearing Copen successor

12/01/2011   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Concept Cars, Convertibles, Tokyo Motor Show, Daihatsu

We've always had a soft spot for the Daihatsu Copen. Granted, it always struck us as an overly effeminate Audi TT, but that's not a particularly bad thing. But after nearly a decade of production, Daihatsu has to move on, so across the way from the "Ultimate Edition" Copen at the Tokyo Motor Show is this, the Daihatsu DX concept.

An odd amalgamation of Kei car size and SUV styling, the D-X features a retractable hard top and composite body panels that Daihatsu claims can be swapped out at will. Keeping within the Kei car limits in Japan, the D-X is powered by a turbocharged two-cylinder engine outputting around 60 horsepower and spinning the front wheels. We couldn't get a straight answer from the Daihatsu reps on the floor, but based on the model years we through out in broken Japanese, we should be seeing the D-X in production form late next year.

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Report: Toyota launches Pixis Space; first kei cars are Daihatsus in drag

09/10/2011   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Minivans/MPVs, Wagons/Estates, Japan, Hatchbacks, Toyota, Daihatsu

Daihatsu Move

Toyota has announced that it will unveil its first-ever kei car to be sold under its recently launched Pixis sub-brand. The vehicle, called the Pixis Space, will make its official debut in late September. Based on the Daihatsu Move Conte, the Pixis Space will be sold at Toyota dealerships through what the automakers calls "Pixis stations." Yes, seriously.

After Toyota's version of the Daihatsu Move Conte makes its debut, the Japanese automaker will launch a Pixis-badged Daihatsu Hijet truck and microvan in December. By the end of 2012, Toyota says it will launch a Pixis version of the upcoming Daihatsu e:S - a vehicle that returns 70.6 miles per gallon (U.S.) as measured under Japan's JC08 test cycle.

In case you weren't aware, Daihatsu - Japan's oldest manufacturer of automobiles - operates under the control of Toyota. In other words, these Pixis machines are simply badge engineering at the kei level.

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